Angela bell on Testing bike and route Spanish Guitar Maker… on Testing bike and route angela bell on Midweek Ramblings Angela Bell on La Isleta del Moro in Jan… Margaret Merry on Figs
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The Barranco de Las Negras is the only one here that has fresh water trickling down it. Although most of the spring wild flowers have now disappeared oleander bushes are in bud and beginning to flower.
Grasses near the water were swaying in the breeze, looking quite dramatic against the deep blue sky.
The barranco widens into a little valley which was once farmed and the path crosses the stream by this gnarled, old fig tree.
Here is Manfred’s quaint little stone cottage with flowering, aloe vera plants in the foreground.
His ginger tom was sunning himself on the wall.
We were told to turn left at the cottage and climb. Here is the view looking back down.
We reached this ravine. After we climbed to the ridge we realised we had come the wrong way and had to turn back. We think we should have kept more to the left but we were out for 4 hours and the scenery is spectacular so the walk was worth doing. Bornos will have to wait for another day.
Margaret is traveling to Ireland this evening. She is not going in search of leprechauns. We found a couple of them in El Brindi last night, but to visit her nephew for a few days taking advantage of the new, inexpensive direct flights with Ryanair from Almeria to Dublin.
Interesting still life compositions can be found in every corner.
Behind a glass cabinet this mannequin is in chains.
Also last night we called in a new deli, Itaka, which has just opened in the Centro Comercial. Wine, chees and jamon were offered to visitors and a duo played outside.
On their first day they always walk up the rambla to Las Hortichuelas and we joined them as they passed below our house. Here, there is a great variety of interesting plants, including some which are found only in this area.
The more common plants include this giant yellow umbelifer.It favours dry, stony habitats.
The botanists were pleased to find a palmito in flower. The yellow blossoms attract insects into the centre of the plant.
Along the rambla, I noticed the burrow of a Mediterranean tarantula. Typically, it was surrounded by a skillfully constructed fence of fragments of vegetation and small stones. By inserting a stem of dried grass, I was able to coax the inhabitant, which defends its territory vigorously, out of its hole.
The strongly-scented Lavandula stoechas grows in profusion along the rambla. It has deep purple flowers, but here is a pink variety – not a colour variation, but a species in its own right. Kew Gardens have developed a variety in a lovely, smoky mauve called Kew Red.
After a while, we left the rambla and scrambled up the mountainside where a glorious display of white-flowered cistus cascaded down the rocky slopes.
We found several wild gladioli flowering here and ….
…. most exciting of all, an excellent example of the very rare and elusive Caralluma europaea and, for the first time, I was able to see one actually in flower.
This curious plant mimics not only cactus, but also its long, narrow fruits are identical in every way to those of the cornical bush.
The Spanish call this low-growing, spreading plant ‘flor de plata’ (silver plant).
The botanist, Sarah Ball, in the centre of the first photo has just published this invaluable field guide to the flora of Eastern Andalucia. You can buy a copy from http://www.nhbs.com/wild_flowers_of_eastern_andalucia_tefno_197184.html
This morning I tested it on one of my suggested routes. From Las Negras I headed towards Las Hortichuelas and took the old road past the village. This used to be the main road linking Las Negras and Las Hortichuelas to civilisation.
After a couple of km, before the old road reunites with the new one I took a track on the left down to Cortijo del Montana.
This track is quite stony and bumpy but, with care, it did not present many problems for the bike.
With the group I intend to stop at Cortijo del Montana so that they can look around this excellent example of traditional, Almerian rural architecture, but today I carried on taking a track to the left to Cortijo del Fraile.
I did not meet any other walkers or cyclists en route but I did encounter these three riders. A typical picture from Andalucia.
The track through Cortijo del Fraile is wide and smooth. There was some cloud about which created some dramatic contrast between light and shade.
There is some intensive agriculture in the fields of Cortijo del Fraile, particularly of salad plants, but because it is within the Parque Natural plastic greenhouses are not permitted.
At the ruins of La Ermita del Fraile I took the left track towards Rodalquilar, The Ermita is in a sorry state of ruin while the disputes as to who should be responsible for restoring it continue. It is regarded as of great cultural significance because of its association with the poet, Federico Garcia Lorca’s famous play “Blood wedding”.
With the group I intend to stop and explore the old gold mine. Minas de Avelon, where scenes from “Exodus” were filned last year.
Also we will stop to explore the old gold mining village, Pueblo Minero de San Diego. From here it is a short cycle to Rodalquilar where we will stop for some refreshment and then return along the road to Las Negras. On the way back, if the weather is good, we will probably take the track down to El Playazo to spend some time on the beach.
Here are a some overall views. Ute has a natural creative flair and her garden is full of colourful compositions which include her painted, rustic furniture, pots and sculptures.
Ute loves cats and in every corner you will see one or two of her many friendly felines. We took some more photos of corners of her garden and cottage which you can see on http://coloursofspain.wordpress.com.
While we were enjoying a picnic lunch two German men appeared and loaded the boat with sacks of refuse. They then, with great difficulty, attached an outboard motor. Not happy with this they replaced it with another outboard and launched the boat into the sea.
Their dog joined them on the boat but then they had a problem starting the motor.
Eventually they fired it up and set off for Las Negras, no doubt to deposit the rubbish in the municipal bins. We were pleased that someone is making an effort to keep beautiful San Pedro tidy.